by Ana Koulouris
We’re moving back to fiction with John Green’s “Looking for Alaska”. The novel is told through the eyes of Miles “Pudge” Halter, a teen whose obsession with famous last words is the only stimulating part of his nice, safe and uneventful life.
All this changes when he decides to transfer, much to his parents’ confusion, from his Florida high school to a boarding school in Alabama. It’s there that he hopes to find a “Great Perhaps,” a concept.
Once there, he finds himself immersed in a world that is the polar opposite of his old one: the classes actually pose a challenge, the school is a society unto itself, and he’s made legitimate friends he enjoys being around. And then there’s Alaska Young, the mysterious, explosive and non-stop firecracker of a girl down the hall who turns everything she touches upside down.
To accurately get a description of this book, think of a “coming of age” story, remove the filter and add more wit and blunt, teenage honesty than one can shake a stick at.
John Green isn’t afraid to delve into the most private corners of a teenage boy’s mind and lay it all out on the page, from brutal self-appraisal and thoughts on girls, to trying to outsmart the school principal and figure out how to cope with daily life in a new environment.
It’s Green’s writing style that truly brings Miles and Culver Creek Boarding School to life. With a true talent for writing in the first person and crafting a fluid stream of consciousness, he leads you into the thick of the narrative from the very first sentence.
This is what I’d call an “I need a break from studying or I’ll snap” type of book. It’s a nice escape with an intriguing story, plenty of moments that will make you laugh and get strange looks from the people around you, and it has a plot that’s straight-forward enough so that you don’t need to take notes to remember who’s who. This book is perfect for high school and college students alike.